E3 is gaming nirvana - the biggest video game conference in the world, it's a veritable feast of polygons and pixels. Unsurprisingly then there have been some historic E3 moments, from console and game unveilings, to famously awkward demo fails.
But alongside all these golden gaming goodies there have also been moments of elation followed by years of waiting, and finally the crippling realisation that the excitement you felt was for a new game that will never see the light of day.
For every E3 success story, there's another project that bites the dust after its grand unveiling. These are the titles that were banished to the phantom zone, lost in development hell. These are the games that we are still waiting to see.
Milo - E3 2009
Back in the days when the Kinect was still under the codename ‘Project Natal’ and Lionhead Studios still existed (R.I.P) we witnessed something truly unexpected at E3 2009.
Lionhead's Peter Molyneux took to the stage and unveiled Milo - an interactive story where players interacted and engaged with Milo (a red t-shirt clad kid) using the power of Kinect.
The technology wowed us – the idea of a buddy we could fire up any time we were bored was something new to the world of gaming, and the demo got the gaming community hyped for the then-exciting Kinect. Unfortunately the game was never released, with the Microsoft suits deciding it couldn't be a commercial success against more mainstream AAA titles. Molyneux's penchant for over-promising certainly didn't help.
Wii Vitality Tracker - E3 2009
Let’s face it – the Wii Vitality Tracker looks more at home in a hospital than connected to a Wii remote, and it’s safe to say that it’s announcement at E3 in 2009 caused more confusion than excitement.
Designed to help ‘visualise your body’ the device tracked your heart rate as you jumped around your living room feeling like Andy Murray at Wimbledon on Wii Sports, or performed the least elegant form of yoga on Wii Fit. Beyond this we couldn't see how else it could be utilised, and unsurprisingly in 2013 Nintendo announced it felt the same way and cancelled this particular peripheral.
It's no big loss really – with fitness wearables and sports trackers increasingly varied and affordable, there are much more elegant ways to get fit than this curious Wii device. But for a rainy day workout, it may have had some use.
Fable Legends - E3 2015
At TechRadar we love the Fable series; it provided some of our fondest gaming moments, trekking around Albion – it was like Monty Python's take on a Zelda game. It let us experience adventure, fantasy and relationships, whilst also teaching us the difference between right and wrong and the consequences of our actions.
What we, as fans, wanted was Fable 4. But unfortunately what was revealed at E3 in 2015 was Fable Legends…
In fairness, Fable Legends had a great premise - a free to play team multiplayer title where you and three friends (or AI) worked towards objectives while opposing players attempted to stop you in your tracks. It is rumored that even during development the staff at Lionhead weren’t keen on Fable Legends, and after four years and $75 million worth of development the game was suddenly cancelled by Microsoft.
Sadly, only a few weeks later things went from bad to worse as Lionhead Studios also closed down. The fate of the Fable franchise has been uncertain ever since.
Agent - E3 2009
Rockstar make great games, that is gospel in the gaming community. The Grand Theft Auto franchise is what they’re best known for, but other titles such as Red Dead Redemption, L.A Noire and Bully make the studio beloved by both gamers and console makers – those dollars just seem to print themselves when the Rockstar logo is slapped on the box.
That’s why back at E3 in 2009 PlayStation proudly announced that they had partnered with Rockstar for their new title, Agent - a PS3 exclusive. Little information is known about Agent except that it is set during the Cold War and drops the player into "the world of counter-intelligence, espionage and political assassinations”. Agent was massively touted in the console wars of the time. But as time went on (and with no update from Rockstar) fans started to worry.
They then got really worried when the PS4 was announced and Agent was still nowhere to be seen, especially as it was not at all mentioned as a PS4 title. To this day we have not had a real update on Agent, except in 2011 when the CEO of Sony US said that he was unsure about the exclusivity of Agent on PlayStation. This comment added fuel to the fire that Rockstar is delaying production of Agent until the exclusivity contract runs out (good news for you PC/XBOX gamers) to allow for a multi-platform release.
We still hold hope of an Agent release though, as in 2015 Rockstar renewed the Agent trademark...
Star Wars 1313 - E3 2012
There have been some unbelievable Star Wars games – Knights of the Old Republic, Battlefront, Rogue Squadron. And, from what we saw during the E3 2012 unveil of Star Wars 1313, we are confident that it would have been one of the greatest.
Following the story of Boba Fett, you would bounty hunt your way around the city of 1313 on Coruscant. Slick, fast paced combat, and cover based blaster fights were just a few of the aspects which excited audiences at E3.
LucasArts was making Star Wars 1313 a game for adults; no kid friendly Jedi morality to be found here as this was set for a ‘Mature’ rating. This combination got gamers excited for 1313, but unfortunately we were to be burnt once again.
When Disney acquired the Star Wars universe they shut down LucasArts, which subsequently ended development of Star Wars 1313. Rumor on the street, however, is that Disney still own the rights for 1313, so stay tuned...
Final Fantasy VII Remake - E3 2015
Everyone has their opinion on the greatest game ever created, but for most Final Fantasy VII takes the crown, and with good reason.
An epic story, beautifully simple yet extremely tactical turn based combat and chocobo racing at the Gold Saucer. It had a cornucopia of ideas, and felt like it was being played out on a huge stage, especially for the era it was created in.
Fans have been calling for a remake of Final Fantasy VII for years and then one sunny day at E3 2015 our gaming dreams came true. The theatre erupted when the crowd gradually realised what was being unveiled - that long awaited, HD remake. Sure, it was going to be episodic, and would probably trample over the rose-tinted memories of the original, but it was truly one of the most memorable moments from E3 in recent years.
However, fast forward a couple of years and things are looking less promising. There have been changes to the development team, extended delays, and very little new information since the announcement. While it's still very much in development, we're keeping fingers and toes crossed that it too doesn't slip into E3 no mans land, which is where it currently seems headed.